David Cameron should “tread more carefully” in considering whether to redefine marriage, a prominent commentator has warned.
Charles Moore, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, said that making an argument that marriage should be differently defined is something very big and bold.
Mr Cameron caused controversy when he spoke out in favour of changing the definition of marriage at the Conservative conference in Manchester last week.
Responding to Mr Cameron’s words, Mr Moore said: “For the entire history of civilisation, marriage has been defined as being between a man and a woman.
“Throughout that history, almost all civilisations have regarded marriage as central to their survival.”
He insisted that the onus of proof should not be on those who seek to justify traditional marriage but on the same-sex marriage campaigners.
Mr Moore said: “You must show that you are right and that everyone else, for thousands of years, has been wrong.”
During his speech Mr Cameron commented: “I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”
This statement, says Mr Moore, could have serious consequences.
“If you are not careful, you bring about a situation where traditional religious belief excludes you from the Conservative Party.”
Mr Moore also spoke out on the absurd way human rights have been used to defend certain groups but restrict others.
He said: “Human rights forbid bed-and-breakfasts to refuse a night to a homosexual couple, even though there is supposed to be a human right to freedom of conscience.
“Anglican churches can marry people with the force of law. How long, if we have gay marriage, before they are compelled to marry homosexuals too?”